Sunday, January 29, 2017

Day 303

O has crossed over the coveted day 300 mark! Her next milestone is day 320 - once she reaches that, her baby will be considered safely full term, and can come anytime. Before 320 is considered premature. Every day that passes as we get closer to 320 is a good day. 

At the end of this week, she will receive the last of her pre-foaling vaccines. Since these guys have had clean fecals and were dewormed not long ago, I won't be deworming her again until the day she foals. Other than that, she is acting the same, eating well, and being her usual self. All of this is great... normal and boring is exactly what we want. 

I have all of my foaling supplies ready. All I need is to make sure I have fresh towels available! I have milk strips ready to go as well, but we don't have any fluid to test yet. Her udders have been changing, and were getting quite big, but they have gone down in the past few days. 

She has REALLY gotten bigger in a month's time as well!

Dec 20th

Jan 28th

I do hope she holds out until March.... February in Texas is usually mild, but sometimes we still get a freeze here and there. 

Interestingly: two years ago today I was writing about P being approximately 70 days away from her due date. I also wrote about P's day 303 as well! She was just as huge as O. 

What do you think we will get? A colt or a filly? And what base color? It will end up grey but it will be born either chestnut or black! With my luck... I'm assuming another chestnut filly. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

When Life Gets Crazy, Go Ride

I've been very sick for several days. When you're sick and something enormous happens, like a new administration taking oath and office, you get stuck in this sneaky spiral of not being able to escape your couch and subsequently not being able to escape social media without great effort, especially when you feel that you must keep on top of what is happening. 

It's not good for your sanity. 

I've never been good at successfully coping with stress. My coping mechanisms have always been unhealthy at best, and extremely destructive at worst. Currently, I've been in some kind of flux between taking a lot of cold medicine to pass out and forget about everything, and drinking a lot. I don't understand what is happening to the country I thought I knew, and I don't have a healthy way to deal with it. So, I drink. It's not good for me. I've been here before. I go through this periodically, where I drink every day in an effort to escape some of the reality I'm not able to process. But I've been really focused and happy since we moved into this house almost two year ago, and it hasn't been an issue. But it is now.

If you think I am being whiny, or a crybaby, or a snowflake, or whatever, then I envy you, because you're in a position where you aren't living in fear. If you aren't afraid, then I don't know how to explain to you why I am afraid. To live in fear is to exist in this perpetual waking nightmare of stress, and tension, and uncertainty. It's exhausting and overwhelming. 

So, I drink. I drink because I can't figure out how to process an incredible amount of information that makes no sense to me whatsoever.

And, I ride.

Riding is infinitely more healthy than drinking, or self mutilating, or any of the other coping mechanisms I could be making use of at the moment. Riding is my chance to get away from people for a bit, and get away from my phone, get away from the radio that is always on, get away from everything. Riding is my chance to focus on just my horse, just myself, and just the movements between the two of us. With dressage especially, there is nothing to consider but you and your horse. There is no terrain to consider, no obstacles, no jumps. Just you, and your horse. Everything else can fade away. You feel every movement, and you adjust things, and play with others. I experiment a bit with Dylan, trying out different ideas that have been mulling in my head, like how it will feel if I drop my stirrups another hole, or if I weight a seatbone differently during a lateral movement, or if I raise or lower my hands just a little bit. A horse like Dylan responds instantly one way or another to everything I do, so I get immediate feedback. He is easy enough to ride that I can make these adjustments while still sitting very quietly. And when I am quiet, he is quiet. When my mind is quiet, his is quiet. 

And as such, everything else can fade away, even just for an hour. For an hour, I don't have to think. I can just feel. I can escape into this very private, very personal world where just my horse and I exist. When the whole world seems to be imploding around me, just for a little while I can feel connected and whole and sane. 

As always, Dylan reminds me that when life gets crazy, I should just go ride. In my youth, whenever I had a bad day I would make sure not to ride, as I had no real ability to separate my overpowering emotions from my riding, but these days are different. These days, I go ride in order to escape from my emotions altogether. These days, riding is as much therapy as anything I have ever used as a coping mechanism before. These days, riding is a true escape. 

If you're feeling like me, go ride. I promise you'll feel better. I know I do. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lessons and Ponying and Fit Throwing, Oh My!

My trailer finally came home this week and I've been back to work as usual. It has been raining for over a week, with not even time inbetween squalls to get dry, which is causing me some grief. It's very hard to put out hay when it's muddy, and it's equally as hard to get anything done with anyone. For the most part, rainy days are so infrequent in Texas (or well, they were, before the past two years) that I don't mind taking them off and just getting other indoor things done instead. I do always have the option of taking Dylan to ride, but I don't always want to go muck around loading in the pouring rain.

I will have to split this post into a few so as to not clog up a huge amount of space!

On Monday I trailered out to WD to ride. The place was packed full of people, which is rare - some of them my friends, some of them people I don't like crossing paths with. I much prefer when the place is dead quiet, which is why I usually don't go on weekends. Unfortunately I had forgotten that it was MLK day :/ Since a Dylan had been off for a few weeks, I didn't do a ton of work, just some supplying walk with and simple trot and canter work with shallow half passes to loosen him up a bit. He was tired at the end of the ride, which almost never happens, so I could tell that he had lost a little conditioning. Of all my horses, he is the hardest to keep fit for sure. O's super pregnant and has been off since June, and she's still ripped. Dylan gets off for two weeks, and he comes back a marshmallow. 

On Monday, I also got up on Big Frank, and decided to try ponying with him. We weren't sure if he had ever done it before, but he's so mellow I wasn't really worried. I also tried putting a short shank hackamore on him, to see if I would be able to steer and stop him in it. He is super mellow and slow when he has a friend with him; when he is alone, I need more turning power, and so I figured this was a better time to try a hackamore. I picked Pax to go with him, as I thought she was less likely to worry him. Pax is devoted to him, while Zoodle can be a bit domineering. Zu also likes to bite his pony horse, something which I wasn't sure if Frank would tolerate if he didn't already know how to pony. 

Turns out I had nothing to worry about. He plodded along steady as ever, even though Pax herself was hot and spooky. She looked around, jigged, tossed her head, and skittered at the end of her line for awhile. Frank just walked on. It didn't take long to realize that I had no steering or brakes whatsoever with the hackamore, but it didn't really matter. He goes in a straight line at the same speed for as long as you like. I'm going to put him back in the snaffle for sure, but I see no reason why he won't be able to pony with Zoodle. Actually it might go better than it did with Pax - Pax is much more forward than Frank, and Zoodle's short legs are about the right length to keep up with his plod. Zu has a hard time keeping up with Pmare - he's just too short and she's too forward. 


Frank has really upped his big since he got here! He's put a good amount of weight on. He wasn't thin before, certainly, but he looks really good now that he can eat hay again.

On Tuesday, I had another lesson with L. I told her I hadn't worked him much in the past few weeks, so we didn't have to do a lot of hard work. Despite that, she put our butts to work working on some suppling exercises. Primarily, we did 10m circles in each corner, then alternated in the trot from shoulder in to a few steps of half pass and back to a shoulder in, and in the canter a few strides of shoulder in to half pass, and half pass off the rail and leg yielding back to the rail in canter. Suppling exercises like that are really hard, especially in the canter where movements like shoulder in and leg yield are really not easy to execute. They're very good for a horse like Dylan, who doesn't do well with traveling along doing the same thing for long periods of time. We also did some work going from mediums to half steps. I don't have a lot of practice with half steps, but Dylan clearly knew what I was asking for. When I asked K later, she says he has piaffe and has passage started, so now that I know this I intend to play around with it in lessons!
At some point Dylan completely ran out of fuel, and we decided to wrap it up. It was quite a lot of work for not having been ridden for a couple of weeks, and he was tired. We talked a little more about the show schedule - it starts in March, and goes full steam through early summer. 

Back at home, inbetween my lesson and my physio, I decided to hop on old Pmare and take Zoodle for a go. My original thought after seeing Frank do so well with Pax is that he would be better suited to take Zoodle himself, since he tends to walk super slow and Zoodle can't keep up with P very well, but since he had just gone and P hadn't, I chose her.

An older picture, but the same view. I had a trotting video to upload though!

Zoodle was excellent. On his best behavior, interested in everything around him but not spooky, and really being perfect. I was proud of him. We went about two miles and came back around the usual loop, and he didn't put a foot wrong. Much better than his sister the day before.

Pmare though... was a different story. P gets called a cow on a daily basis, with more colorful things interspersed in there as warrants, but she really out-heifered herself that day. She's not a beginner's horse and she never has been, because when she's mad about something she's going to let you know about it. It's why she came with a bucking clause written into her sale contract! That day, we were literally in the very last bit of the ride when I had to stop her to let some cars pass. She did not want to stand when we were so close to home, so she kept barging forward and running into her hackamore. This made her mad, so she started shaking her head and backing up, dragging poor Zoodle along with her. I still wanted her to be capabale of standing immobile for a minute before we walked off again - something she usually is really good about - but she was not having it. The headshaking and backing progressed into full out rearing and throwing herself sideways. She was MAD and she was going to let me know how she felt about it. 
I ended up actually dismounting and leading her back, since I didn't want poor Zoodle to be scared, not after he had been so good. I put him away, pulled out an actual bridle with bit, and rode her back out to the same spot where we had had the problem. 
It fixed nothing. If anything, she was angrier than ever, and she stood immobile while I pony kicked her, trying to get her to just WALK forward from a stand still. I could't get her to go forward at all after the first halt - every time she would respond to my urging it was just to rear and spin, running backwards and bouncing into the air. The second time she tumbled down into the ditch, with no regard to her own safety, I started to wonder if I was going to win this fight.
I never did. I ended up having to dismount again and lead her back because I could NOT. Make. Her. Go. She just wasn't going to do it, and she was getting increasingly dangerous about it. Even when I dismounted and went to back her up out of my space, she put her ears flat back and barged forward, mowing me down out of her way. I hope my neighbors don't call me in for animal cruelty, because I whopped her a good one for that. 

Ungrateful old cow. All I wanted was for you to stand still for 30 seconds so we didn't get run over by a bunch of trucks. 

I have more catching up to do.... in the next post!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

When It Rains, It Pours

My life motto for the past several years has been "if you're not laughing, you're crying." My life is basically a constant comedy of errors, as I've written about before, and January thus far is really kicking off in fine style. 

I had big hopes for 2017. Have. Still have. There are a lot of things I decided are going to happen this year - 2016 ended pretty much with a crash and I decided that I wasn't going to let that get the best of me. I had increasingly good years following my move to Texas, and last year felt a little bit like a plateau. I want it to keep getting better, so I decided that I'm going to *make* it better myself. 

I decided this is the year Future Hubs are getting married (and then he can just be Hubs). We've been engaged for several years now, but I decided this year we're officially tying the knot. 

I also decided this year I'm getting a new truck. I've been wanting one for awhile, but my truck has officially reached an age now where I feel like it's rather important to get a new one sooner than later. Old Patron has 260,000 miles on it, and I am not sure I am really going to get another year of heavy use out of it. 

So positive stuff right?

Weddings are expensive. Super expensive. So, that's something to keep in mind. But that's easy enough right?

Well. There is more. New trucks are expensive... really expensive. Truthfully what I need to do is buy a low mileage used one, or one that isn't a brand brand new one (like a 2015-16 model instead of a 17). And really, I need to do this sooner than later, as my current truck is losing value with every day that passes. At some point it will be worth nothing and then I'll really be in trouble. 

Okay. That's fine. Two big expenses, that's doable. I think. 

Then I took my trailer in for it's yearly going over. I went to a new dealer, one I had been to for another small trailer repair and really liked at the time. He fixed up a bunch of things for me, put a bunch of improvements on like a new jack and LED lights, and then told me that there is some rust on the underside. The sides are aluminum and the frame is steel, and we already sandplasted and primed and painted it once before some years ago. I'm going to take it back in next month and have some reinforcements welded onto the underside, which will strengthen the frame. But the trailer is 17 years old now, and the fact is that I use it every week, several times a week. It gets a TON of use. Really and truly, it is time for me to get a new one, and sell this to someone who will be a little more gentle on it. Despite its age, it is really in great shape otherwise, and it certainly has served me well over the years. But it's time to move on - and probably get a 3 horse, considering how many animals I have now. My 2 horse is a warmblood size, which I needed at the time (Metro was a BIG BOY), but now all of my horses are 16.0 or under, except for Frank. A 3 horse slant is better suited to my needs - but do I get a gooseneck or a BP? I have to get a new truck first, especially if I consider a gooseneck. I also have to factor in the fact that I have to transport my carriages, which usually go in the bed of my truck - which means I can't have a gooseneck unless I have enough room inside the trailer to transport a carriage. There's a lot to consider. 

And, that's a third big expense. Can I really afford this?

And then today happened. I have a second vehicle, a mini van, that I use for toodling. I was heading to go see B2 and R for brunch this morning, and in the fog and rain I rear ended another small car. My radiator is crunched and the front end is all busted up, but at least I'm okay. B2 and R came to my rescue, checked me out, and helped me get the mini van home safely. As per my parents' advice (both attorneys), this little runaround vehicle only has liability insurance, not full collision coverage. I have to pay for all the repairs myself. 

So, that's a FOURTH big expense. It's worth fixing since it's clearly still driveable and fine (we drove it home post-accident), but.... still. Seriously. My god. Is it ever going to end!?

Sigh. Oh well. At least I'll have shiny new things, even if I'll be in debt for like.... ever. And ever. 
Fix mini van first, then wedding nonsense. New truck next, then new trailer. Or.... something.

Oh yeah.... and I need to still find enough money at the end of the day to SHOW! 

Since the trailer is back, Dylan is back to work as of tomorrow. Thank god too, I've been dying to go riding. It's been rainy and gross here for several days now, and without my trailer and subsequent access to an indoor arena, I have been out of luck. So at least after this, I'll be able to start blogging regularly again, at least about Dylan. Maybe not so much about the others until the rain stops....!

OH YEAH ONE MORE THING. I finally bought some new tall boots after trying on a million different pairs and not finding any that fit me properly. We ordered some through Dover, they arrived this week, and.... they don't fit. At ALL. So now I need to take them back and keep looking. Because I just have so much money and time to throw around! 

Can't you cut me just a LITTLE slack universe? I'm REALLY getting tired of this and it's only the 15th of January. 

Big Momma looking BIIIIIIIIIG

Seriously how is she getting bigger!?

Friday, January 6, 2017


The first week of the new year has started off with a bang. I've been powering through my days getting tons of stuff done. Aside from working literally every day, I've also been steaming through my year end bookkeeping, cleaning my house and putting away (most) of my decorations, paying bills, and ordering supplies (for business as well as supplements and FOALING SUPPLIES YES). I also dropped my trailer off for it's yearly servicing. Without it, I'm stuck at home, which is fine but it also limits me until I get it back. Considering that I've been working from dawn until dusk anyway, and I have no way to work anyone here in the dark, it has been a good time to get important indoors-only type stuff done. 

Today was one of the coldest days so far. The wind chill this morning was only 3 degrees. I worked all morning, and got home around noon after my afternoon clients rescheduled for next week (when it will be almost 80 again). It was a good thing they decided to reschedule... shortly after I got home it started snowing. Snow in Texas happens about once a year, but it's always pretty fun when it does. The horses LOVE to play in it, especially old Pmare who always gets reminded of her youth in Canada. 

Before snow.... O has been sleeping a LOT lately

It was solidly snowing by this time but O refused to get up, so Dylan wouldn't leave her

Sriracha and Zoodle going nuts!

That's quite a snowstorm for Texas

Pmare was INTO IT! She only plays like this in the snow! 

I don't know which is more fun.... seeing the babies playing in the snow because they don't know what it is, or seeing Pmare play in the snow because she DOES know what it is

Frank and Zoodle

As of right now the snow is still on the ground. It will melt by tomorrow but it was fun while it lasted! I could watch my goons play in the snow for hours. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Years Day Shenanigans

As is now a New Year's tradition, B2 came over yesterday to play ponies and enjoy the weather. R came too, and somehow we convinced him that he should go with us on our trail ride. All of my adult horses are great on the trail, so we had three available (and if we ever need a fourth, O is also great on the trail!). B2 rode Pmare, I rode Dylan, and R rode Big Frank, who has now solidly earned his husband-safe status. Future Hubs has been nervous about getting on him, because Frank was a little big of a goober when I rode him out alone for the first time, but in company he's completely perfect. He literally did nothing wrong the entire ride, even when the two horses spooked at something in the woods. 

R is not wearing a helmet in these pictures, because we tried to jam one of my helmets onto his giant noggin and couldn't manage it. We will have to get him one of his own. 

Pmare looks pretty good for almost 21!

Wild Stallion!

Pmare looks good but that neck.... we'll never get a decent topline on her again. Ohhhh well!

Come on Big Frank! Frank's favorite speed is plod. 

Dylan says, I would really like a piece of that booty

We had a great ride - we went about 4-5 miles or so, but not further seeing as the oldies aren't in great shape and neither are all that sound. They're plenty sound for easy trail rides, but not for anything beyond that. If we are going to be riding them more than on periodic easy trails, they'll both need to go on a more intensive joint supplement. I think that easy trails are good for these arthritic guys though - movement really helps their stiffness. P in particular really seems to enjoy going out on the trail - she walks along with her ears pricked the whole time. Dylan thought this was very sexy, and spent the entire trail ride waiting for me to stop paying attention so he could sidle closer and talk to her. Naughty boy...

Big Frank won the gold star of the day, just plodding along with R (who does not know how to ride). He must have been a quarter of a mile behind us at one point, and showed no concern whatever. We had R turn around long before we ever turned around, to give him a head start, and Frank had no problem leaving us behind. He stopped once or twice and stood there, but R told him to walk on and he did. Slow and easy and he didn't put a foot wrong. What a good egg he is. I bet he was really special when he was younger. 

When we got back to the house, I put B2 up on Dylan to go for a quick spin. He was super for her, doing everything she asked and doing it quietly. She raved about how much fun he is, and how super cool he is. Can't say that I disagree - how many upper level stallions can go you on a trail ride with, and then ride in the pasture with a loose mare?

He doesn't care. Or well, he does care, but he's too well behaved to act on it

Today I worked all day, but had enough time at the end of it to pull O out and give her a trim and a good grooming. She also got her final Prodigy shot, as she is now 9 months pregnant. She is HUGENORMOUS and she still has two months to go! As a maiden, I have no idea what she will trend towards, so basically from now on out I'll be keeping a eagle eye on her. She gets her final set of shots in early February, and then the countdown begins. As long as she holds on until February 14th, we'll have passed the coveted 320 day mark. She is already building a bag as of two days ago - she better cross her legs and hold on.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 Goals

It's that time of year again..... time for our....


~ 2017 Goals! ~


Dylan 2017 Goals:
1) Compete 3rd/4th level on Dylan (USDF)
2) Compete at Intermediate level in Working Equitation
3) Compete at the Haras Cup
4) MAYBE - IALHA Nationals
5) MAYBE - Andalusian World Cup
- I say maybe to the last two because they are SUPER SUPER expensive. My bigger goals are to get my scores towards my silver medal, and to compete at Haras Cup, which is something I REALLY want to accomplish. Nationals is here in Texas, so that's a pretty good bet, but it's also an entire week - it's hard to get away for that long. The AWC I REALLY want to do but it's in Las Vegas, which is not exactly close. 


O-Ren 2017 Goals:
1) Have a happy, healthy, bouncing baby!
2) Consider whether or not we are breeding her back for a second time
- This depends entirely on the quality of the foal. If we get something completely knockout and amazing I will consider breeding her back. Obviously if we get a dud we won't be doing that! We shall see what we end up with but I have high hopes for something of really nice quality. My dream is to get a matching team from this cross, but that's a long way off. 


Pax 2017 Goals:
1) Continue baby school - wearing a bridle, being ponied on the trails, etc.
2) Show in the FEH at Meadowcreek (and maybe some other small in-hand shows for fun?)
- Unfortunately this year, Meadowcreek is our only Area V FEH that I know of. The other ones on the calendar were either cancelled or didn't happen this year. I had hope that this would change - maybe it will? - but as of right now this is all I get. Unfortunately it's in March, and basically everything else is going on in March (a surgery for Future Hubs, O's foal) so hopefully nothing gets in the way of this!
3) Keep growing up and being a horse! 


P 2017 Goals:
1) Go on some trail rides! 
2) Continue being the resident baby-dragger
3) Enjoy retired life!
- We're done breeding P. I got my one and that's all, and that's fine. I have plenty else going on anyway! P has earned her place on the mostly retired list. She's sound for trails and she enjoys them, so that's mostly what we will be doing!


Lendri 2017 Goals:
1) Continue trying to make her a driving moole!
- This is up in the air, as it has been. I want her to succeed as a driving animal but I don't know that she will ever be one. She can still be so reactive and spooky sometimes, and I just don't know that she will ever truly get over that. She is a really wonderful pet, so if she doesn't ever become a sport moole I'm quite fine with that. We will see! I'm going to keep trying! 


Zoodle 2017 Goals:
1) Continue to solidify lunging
2) Teach long lining and long line all over the place!
3) Take him off property for lots of exposure and despooking!
4) Later in the year - learn about drag shafts and dragging small objects
- I'm excited about this little guy. He's going to continue to be a lot of work, but he's such a good natured little guy - if any zebroid can do it, it's him! He's the same age as Sriracha (2) so he's still a baby and has a long way to go.


Sriracha 2017 Goals:
1) Continue regular handling as usual
2) Continue learning to lunge
3) Teach to long line
4) Maybe later in the year - learn about drag shafts and dragging small objects
- Sriracha is just two now, so she will turn 3 mid-2017 and is still quite young. I don't want to push her but later in the year I think she will be capable of handling these things. As long as she continues to show a talent for driving that is!


Uma 2017 Goals:
1) Continue growing up and being a moole!
- Uma is Pax's age so she has a lot of growing up left to do before we decide if she's big enough to drive or not!
2) Continue regular handling - and later in the year, start introducing simple concepts of lunging and wearing harness


Big Frank 2017 Goals:
1) Go on some trail rides!
2) Teach him to pony? 
- Depends on how he does with He's a weiner and all the babies are over him in the pecking order, which I didn't expect. He's also not terribly sound, so he'll be limited in what we do with him, but he is game for trails. 


I think it's going to be a good one. My biggest focus this year is going to of course be Dylan, but I also want to prep and show Pax in the FEH (and maybe some schooling shows in hand?), and I want to make sure Zoodle gets the exposure he needs. I have a lot of hopes for show season, we're getting married this year (finally after being engaged for like four years), I hope to buy a new truck this year, and of course O's foal is coming. There are other things too which are just as exciting but less relevant to the blog. I'm not quite sure which direction our country is heading in at the moment, but I fully intend on making the best of it either way.

New Year's resolution: hug moar zoodle